church - God - Jesus - problems

What this Easter means to me

There are times that transparency is enough to kill you or harm the things you love. There are times that God has to be the judge and we have to withhold the injustices done to us or our families from the public eye. It would be nice for those who should know that parts of the body of Christ are hurting to remember

“those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3)

False teaching in the “church” is increasing and will continue to increase

The fact is that in the end times

 “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:10-13)

We know false prophets will increase and deceive many…

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24 Mark 13:22 (NIV)

Not everyone who stands in a pulpit or dresses like a priest or says he/she is speaking from God is telling the truth…

“This is what the LORD Almighty says, ‘ Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16)

Many of these people who are false will be highly regarded by many…

“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:26 

They will clandestinely introduce destructive views:

“…there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them…” (2 Peter 2:1)

It is very important when you hear a sermon, any sermon, that you open up your Bible and confirm what the person is saying is true. Rarely will their heresy be blatant – a little word here, a sentence there. Your eyes will prick up and you’ll look to see if anyone else picked up on it. It doesn’t matter if they heard it – you did. Don’t just hope it will go away. It won’t.

The chosen few aren’t in the pew?

Beware of those who say that they are the only ones who are capable of interpreting scripture or “always know God’s will” such people smack of cult and false teaching.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

Cults in Christianity?

In her Bible study, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, Beth Moore talks about a dear friend who was lured into a cult that professed to practice like the church in Acts, however it turned out that the only thing they did in truth was pool finances along with

“man-induced legalism and bondage because the leaders interpreted Scripture for them. They were not encouraged to study the Bible for themselves.” (p 90)

She goes on to say

“Keep in mind that any kind of mind manipulation that draws a believer away from his or her wholehearted, sincere, and pure devotion to Christ qualifies as a demonic seduction according to 2 Corinthians 11:2-3.” (p 90)

Rules Don’t Make you Right

Legalism was killing the church in Jesus’ day and is still causes those who come to church to head running for the hills.

  • These people love having important jobs in church (Luke 11:43) and
  • being greeted with respect around town (Luke 11:43),
  • they make all these rules they pretend to follow to look good for everyone with trash on their DVD and web browser history (Matthew 23:27),
  • they pretend that they are giving out of love for God but really are motivated by greed and the tax write off (Matthew 23:25),
  • they’re always in church but don’t have time to visit their aging Mom in the nursing home or to treat their tenants fairly (Matthew 23:23),
  • they go put flowers on graves of those who have died but kill people with their words in a deacon’s meeting or with their emails (Matthew 23:29) –
  •  there is nothing new here. Arrogance, pride, greed have always been the hidden sins that erode a church’s effectiveness from within the hearts of those in the pews.

It was power, greed, and arrogance that caused the Chief Priest of the temple in Jerusalem to say

“You do not realize that it is better for you that one many die for the people than the whole nation perish.” (John 11:50)

They thought killing Jesus would save their church. It did, just not like they thought it would.

Good Friday, Really?

Yesterday was “Good Friday.” But in my own heart, it didn’t feel good at all. All I could feel is that Jesus was betrayed by his friends, by the people he made. Just think, he looked at the high priest and Pilate and could perhaps remember the days when He “created their inmost being and knit them together in their mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

I felt people clapping as their evil chants to “Crucify him” were granted. They were so happy that they got what they wanted! They thought they could save the church by killing someone and removing Him permanently from their synogogue. I felt the burning eyes of hatred burrowing into a good man who hadn’t done anything wrong except speak the truth.

The church has always killed prophets and good men. Jesus said,

“Woe to you because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them.” (Luke 11:47.)

The church still does. It is important to realize that when a church strays, as often happens when money and power coagulate, that your faith is in Christ not Christians. It must be a relationship with a Savior not a church.

The problem is that many sense that a church has gone off task and mission but just choose to stop going to church.

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Abandoning church isn’t the answer.

It would be nice to just join one church and know that you’re set for your entire life. I wish it were so, trust me, with all my heart, I wish it was so! However, there are times that in order to follow God, we have to move away from our comfort zone. Abraham was led out, so was Moses, Paul, and even Jesus said “truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24) For Jesus to be Jesus, he had to leave home.

I do not profess to be a prophet. I do profess Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and the greatest person I’ve ever known. He’s there with me each morning and each afternoon. My relationship with Him transcends and exceeds all others.

A little over five years a go, I was told that blogging was evil. I should have known that was just the beginning of many other untrue things that I’d hear from the person who said this. Any medium on this planet can be used for good or for evil – to bless or to curse. Such church-lady-ish condemnation of something just because it is new caused book burning and now this. God needs all kinds of people, with many different talents:

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29)

Anything I have, the credit goes to God. Tomorrow is Easter, it is a new day and a new beginning in many ways for me and my family.

We follow Christ – He doesn’t follow us.

It isn’t His job to rubber stamp everything we do with our lives and clean up the mess like the child who asked for an AK-47 for his birthday. There are times He doesn’t give us what we ask for because He can see more deeply than we can imagine.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

You see, Good Friday was the one day that God told Jesus, “No.”

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as  I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

Because there is Easter, God told Jesus “No” for the greater good of mankind. And if Christ had to go through this, be told no, and did it for us, the much smaller, much less impactful “no’s” of our lives must be respected as boundaries of love.

It is hard to imagine why that day is called “good.” It is just awful what happened to Christ. His betrayal. His solitude. His pain. His separation. Unspeakable. Unfathomable. Every awful evil thing you’ve ever heard of – He took the blame for it. He’s the reason that everyone from a serial killer to a nun can be forgiven of their sins. There are those who point to this as being unjust that serial killers shouldn’t be put in the same category as a nun and that they shouldn’t be forgiveable.

“All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

The injustice of it…an innocent man being blamed for child abuse, murder, gossip, overeating, pornography, drunkenness, adultery, everything on one man. What is good about that?

“He who knew no sin because sin for us, that we may be made the righteousness of God through Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

It was good because of what it did for us. Because now

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

I don’t understand it. I claim it. I believe it. I realize that it makes me look foolish to many of my friends who are very smart in book knowledge.

“but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling bock to Jews and foollishness to Gentiles.” 1 Corinthians 1:23
“for the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, an the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25

I don’t know why I took the time today to write this. There are million other things to do right now. For me, perhaps moving past the pain of betrayal, hurt, agony, tears will take the path of my Savior. I will die to myself and everything that I want or ever wanted for my life to be reborn in a way that I never planned or comprehended would be in His path for me.

Sometimes in order to move ahead we have to move on as we follow Christ where he leads and not expect it to be the other way around.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

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